Esoteric Women’s Health: Dressing the Way I Want to!

by Shannon Everest, Australia

When I was growing up, just like others I had certain experiences that really shook me up, and whilst some appeared very small and insignificant, others were quite big and significant to me. My fall-back to such experiences was to harden and take on more of a ‘boyishness’ in an effort to hide the loveliness of the young girl who was growing into a woman.

One experience I had was at the age of 13; my girlfriends and I were going out to a pizza restaurant. It was my first evening dinner out without my parents and so I was really looking forward to it. My grandmother, a great seamstress, helped me design a cute outfit – a black pleated skirt, worn with stockings, a white blouse, a little black jacket and black shoes to match. I got ready that night feeling amazing. But when I got to the restaurant I could feel and was met with jealousy and comparison from my friends, since they were dressed completely differently in brand named T-shirts and shorts. I could feel how in my outfit that I really stood out and appeared very ‘different’.

At the time I did not really understand all the reactions, and my own response to this evening in which I felt extremely uncomfortable was to then keep a part of myself hidden. I made a decision to conform to whatever my peers were wearing, and I began to dress more like a boy – with similar T-shirts and denim shorts which came from looking out to what I thought the ‘accepted’ level of dress code was, and making sure that it was keeping in line with my peers.

This decision filtered through into my life. After the boyish phase came the ‘hippy’ phase, wearing clothing that came from op shops and second hand stores. Everything was previously used or had a ‘certain look’, and so once again I had discovered another way to ‘blend in’ with my peers and to not ‘stand out’. I found it pretty hard to look lovely when dressing in such a way, so once again my mission to hide was achieved.

During that phase of dressing in second hand clothes with a certain ‘hippy’ look, I would often crave to buy different clothes. Sometimes I even would buy things that I really liked and then not let myself wear them. I felt with my friends that if I were to break out of ‘that look’ and wear what I really wanted, which was a far more conservative or ‘smart’ way of dressing, that they would think, ‘Who are you?’ And so I continued to keep myself hidden in that chosen clothing style.

I had also discovered that if I dressed in such a way I would  avoid getting male attention. And if I avoided getting such attention then I would also avoid getting, or being, hurt. There were layers to this hurt – on the one hand I was avoiding any other man being interested in me because of a previous earlier relationship that had ended in rejection (in favour of another woman), and on the other hand it was mostly about the rejection I felt whenever I did show my loveliness, that I felt like I was received (by the man) as being more of a ‘sexual object’.

When I started to attend Universal Medicine workshops and courses it had such a simple but powerful effect upon my life; I began to feel how much, and for how long, holding back and hiding away the loveliness I felt inside of me was hurting me. I found myself finally being able to begin to let go of all those ideas of how I should look and dress, that had me conforming with those around me and only covered the beautiful woman I had grown to become. Wow! How much effort it had taken me to actually do this and to keep my expression pushed down, buried and hidden away.

So I began to dress how I felt to dress. At first it was still a bit modest, but my change could still be felt by others. People who had known me would comment (often not in ways that would be supportive) on my changes, but now I had a sense of confidence that supported me. I started to experiment with make-up, slowly building up a collection and playing with ways of applying that did not really conform to how it should be applied! I discovered how much fun it was to get my hair cut, to try new styles, to get a fringe, to play with hair-drying and hair-straighteners. To also have fun with jewellery and earrings, scarves and various colours – the possibilities were endless!

The interesting thing is that there were (and still are) so many layers and ingrained ways of being that had been compounded over the many years. And that, after years of over-riding my natural expression in regards to the way I dress, I am still discovering pockets of where I try to ‘dress-down’ to ‘not stand out’. Having said that, nothing can compare to the absolute joy I have and feel in embracing who I am – now in the simplest of ways.

190 thoughts on “Esoteric Women’s Health: Dressing the Way I Want to!

  1. Claiming myself through the clothes I use is not just medicine that heals the harm I exerted on me in the past for not doing it, but a delicious way of lovingly exploring my unique expression as a woman. Pure joy in confirming who I am and feeling supported by it.

  2. Appreciating who we are, how gorgeous we are naturally are in essence, is what allows us to express who we are through the way we dress, do our hair and apply make-up if we feel to, as a confirmation and celebration of how we feel about ourselves with no need for any attention, approval or acceptance as we already know and feel just how beautiful we already naturally are.

  3. If we give in to the force of jealousy, we allow ourselves to be crushed in our expression. I have been learning a lot about expressing my true self in this life. People don’t always like it, but does that mean it should stop?

  4. Expression comes in many forms. It is not just the words we use but how we move and how we dress too. And there is joy is expressing the truth of who we are. For me, it is the confirmation that it is the truth of our beingness, that there is joy present. It has been inspiring for me to see how women love their clothes and trying out new looks etc. I used to thing that clothes were purely functional things – but there is so much more to it when we start to honour ourselves more deeply and choose to express all that we are rather than seek to simply fit in with our peers.

  5. We can take on so many ways of being that are not us or our natural expression to fit in, and in doing so we hide, and often as shared here, that hiding is comfortable, we do not want to stand out or somehow get attention; but in all this we may not stand out and thus be comfortable, but we effectively strangle ourselves and our own expression internally and over time this can be suffocating, like a beautiful plant craving sunlight, we are living in the dark. And gradually as we allow more light in and express more of how we want to truly be, there is great joy in that, and great fun in finding out all the ways we can be and in fact are, but just haven’t been. It’s an never ending exploring and surrendering to who we truly are.

  6. I remember always being busy with the world around me how they saw me.
    Then I went into a fase to fit in with work, I dressed in a kind of general official way by which nobody could say anything about it.
    There is a control in it, a measurement.
    Now I feel I honor my beauty much more and the way I feel to express flows more naturally
    with less care if I will be noticed. Then I will be noticed why not?
    Scared to disturb people in a way?
    That is to let go of.

  7. There are so many ways that we can choose to stunt our expression in order to conform to the ‘norm’ and what we choose to wear is a joyful expression to rediscover when we are ready to stand out and be true to ourselves.

  8. I remember when a teenager I was going out with some friends and it was decided what we would wear, unbeknown to me the others decided to wear something different, so i turned up in something different, I felt so uncomfortable standing out, that was a game I didn’t want to play, at times now I buy something that i love but it ends up sitting in the cupboard, it feels time to bring it out and learn to dress how I actually feel to dress.

  9. The dinner outfit you described sounded supercute! I really related to this blog as I unpick the ways and reasons for hiding away my loveliness. Not hiding away feels amazing, hiding away is starting to really hurt and allowing myself to feel how it hurts it amazing.

  10. Being accepted and recognised by others is huge in so many of us, and can creep into our lives in subtle or not so subtle ways, like how we dress and present ourselves. Honouring and embracing ourselves, and what we truly feel, is so important.

  11. I understand this journey – from wearing clothes that are designed to fit in with my peers, to choosing clothing that reflects how lovely I feel.

  12. I love reading about the changes in your life and how now, ‘nothing can compare to the absolute joy I have and feel in embracing who I am – now in the simplest of ways.’

  13. How we dress is an expression of ourselves and our qualities. If we do not dress the way we want to, we very much need to ask ourselves the question, who are we dressing for and who is pulling our strings?

  14. I was not aware of how much I measured myself based on the current trends, if I felt I could be accepted in that trend I would go with it, if that style didn’t work for me, I would judge my body harshly and wear clothes to hide my body. In recent years I have been enjoying much more, finding what styles I enjoy wearing, experimenting with this and really having fun with what I wear. I find I am embracing much more of myself as a woman and this is now reflected in what I wear.

  15. “I found myself finally being able to begin to let go of all those ideas of how I should look and dress, that had me conforming with those around me and only covered the beautiful woman I had grown to become. Wow! ” Trying not to stand out – i can so relate to this Shannon. I am currently clearing out a load of old clothes and seeing clothes hidden away and that I haven’t worn for years. Some big and baggy, some from my hippy era too…. Seven bin bags and counting….. It feels very freeing.

  16. Many of us dress to impress or to be part of the current trend and fashion but this is completely giving our power away to outside influences which is a denying our own uniqueness and inner beauty.

  17. Who am I? Do I fully claim myself? How do I show and share myself to others? Where do my clothing choices come from? Do those choices support the expression of who I truly am? Sometimes I like to ask me these questions, because they make me ponder on the purpose and imprint that clothes have in my day to day, and the reflection I offer wherever I go.

    1. Great questions Amparo and thanks for sharing – as my clothing choices change and I am expressing more of who I am it is great to explore the pockets where I still choose to ‘not stand out’.

  18. Gorgeous to feel the liberation in returning to the confidence in expressing who you really are. Sadly, from a very young age we are not encouraged to foster and nurture our connection to who we are and our connection to what we feel is true. And so, when we stand out and appear ‘different’ for expressing our truth, be it in simply how we are, or how we feel to dress, or just expressing our true selves, we don’t feel our confidence to continue to walk claimed in knowing who we are. As such, we succumb to fitting in, giving away our power to ideal and pictures and reduced our brilliance in order to not stand out. Yet as you have shared shining in all that we are is a joy freedom that far exceeds any picture or ideal we could ever try to fit in to.

  19. Yes there are so many unsaid dress codes in the world and just dressing amazingly stunning on a normal working day is usually frowned upon. But why not dress as gorgeous as we feel? It makes such a difference in how I feel in myself when I dress womanly and in line with how beautiful I am feeling. It supports me in my day if things get a bit intense to feel my beautiful clothes that just feel right that day.

  20. It is interesting how we hold onto beliefs in the need to present ourselves and conform in a certain way to be accepted by others that we suppress our natural expression and shut ourselves off from truly connecting with others.

  21. It is interesting so many women can dress to hide their womanliness so they do not get any attention from men. Then there is opposite of this also where everything is on show to attract attention. Both of these out of reaction, where what we truly want is to be met and accepted for who we naturally are.

  22. Expressing ourselves through the clothing we choose to wear is a fun and creative way of honouring ourselves and what we feel. I also went through different stages though, and when I was a teenager dressed in ways out of reaction to what I considered mainstream and boring.

  23. This is so wonderful Shannon , is it not amazing how much of you and all of us have been missing out on thank you.

  24. Struck by how many of us react to having to wear a uniform at school or work but yet we are so attuned to conforming to dress codes to not stand out in whatever social circle we are in effectively strangling the natural expression of our loveliness the rest of the time?! For much of my life my dress style has been pretty androgynous and it is only recently that I have started to explore my femininity and am really enjoying wearing more dresses and choosing my clothes based on how they feel to wear.

  25. I remember the horror of dressing differently from my friends. Looking back now with more awareness I can see that it wasn’t about the fact that I was dressed differently that was so horrifying, it was what came at me from people that hurt so much. It’s like a code was broken and if you didn’t fit the pack you were then ostracised from the pack until you got back in line.

  26. I remember feeling pressure to buy hyper colour t-shirts, Levi’s and Country Raid bags for school was cool and if you didn’t have these items you would get laughed at. I never really liked these items and used to make some of my own accessories and decorate clothing to wear but could feel the pressure my friends were under to be and look a certain way to fit in. Connecting to our own expression and choosing what feels right for us not only sets a new movement for you but also says to others it’s okay to be exactly as you want to be and it’s cool. Living from our essence is the fashion statement and one that inspires many.

  27. I can relate to the same fall-back position growing up Shannon, hardening myself as a result of experiences and conforming my body and way of living to keep part of myself hidden. In suppressing my vulnerability and natural delicateness I later realised how much this closes ourselves off from truly opening up to others and thereby not being able to connect and express ourselves in a far truer and deeper way in all our interactions and relationships.

  28. I remember a stage in my life when I wanted to be accepted and ‘fit’ in with the other students at drama college because they were teasing me and I felt the rejection so I began to dress like a man to not stand out – completely denying my tender and gorgeous qualities. So I can really relate to what you share here Shannon and I am pleased this stage didn’t last too long as it really squashed and shutdown my natural expression trying to conform to others pictures and images that take us further away from our beautiful and true selves.

  29. It is interesting how much we change ourselves for what we think we need to be for others. Often unconsciously making a choice to hold back so that it doesn’t rattle anyone and then we take that on and become that and lose connection to who we are and how it is natural for us to express.

    1. Beautiful point MW – as when we relaise that we are already everything that we need, being who we naturally are is a joy to be with and share, with no attachment to how we are received.

  30. It is beautiful to come to a place where regardless of the layers and compounding of who we are not over the years, at any point we can stop and begin to address and discard what is not true to reveal the gorgeousness of who we are who has always been there waiting to be honoured and expressed accordingly.

  31. Such an exquisitely beautiful blog Shannon, like a butterfly coming out into the sunshine and light. I’ve also had a history of dressing down, and wanting to hide and fit in and reading this I can feel how much I’ve changed in how I dress and how I am and that I’m not more willing than ever to allow myself to be seen in my beauty. I love how you describe the experimentation and I’ve just realised reading this today that I can continue to allow myself to experiment and not get stuck on a look even now that it’s a journey and not a destination and that a part of me has settled into a look just now and it’s time to allow furhter changes as a deepening of my own apppreciation of me. So thank you for sharing your story, it’s been very inspiring.

  32. A beautiful description of a woman having fun learning to clothe herself on the outside to reflect how she is feeling within.

  33. Love it, holding back and playing small is out. We’ve done it for too long and it’s hurting us to the bone going around playing ourselves down. And we hurt everyone else also because we’re robbing them of seeing a beautifull person in us.

  34. This is a great blog Shannon it exposes so much about our behaviour as women, We measure ourselves against others all the time comparing so we either don’t stand out or we out do everyone. It is timely when this game of hiding is seen through and expose and we can once again return to who we are as unaffected as a small child. This gives us the opportunity to connect with and appreciate the deep knowing, beauty and wisdom that lies within and make our choices from there.

  35. This is an awesome blog for young women to read- I went through similar experiences as a young woman- mainly dressing to hide myself. I feel many would be able to relate to this and it supports to look at what you are doing and why.

  36. A very powerful article one for every woman to ponder on for themselves. It is very revealing to look at how we dress, honestly sharing with ourselves, if it is our true choice or one we have allowed others to determine for us.

  37. It’s interesting how much you conform, without even realising it. I feel uncomfortable at the thought of conforming, when I’ve made such an effort to like what I like, but the truth is, I know I have liked things in order to be seen a certain way, not because I truly like something. It’s so sneaky and so so subtle. I am so good at modifying myself, the way I dress and present myself, and I do it so that I fall under the radar and not smack bang in front of it. It’s a big one to get real about for me.

  38. The way we dress is an expression of how we truly feel about ourselves, and when we are living from a true quality of connection from our essence is a beautiful reflection that is deeply felt in the body so that it can have a profound effect on us and our awareness.

  39. Up until 4 years ago I had no idea of what I liked to wear. I would buy the same style of clothing as the person I went shopping with. You can imagine the different array of styles that were in my cupboard and none of them were really me. I love that I can go shopping with my friends now and choose clothes that I like to wear and that suit me to a tee.

  40. It’s interesting to note when you feel amazing the first thought after that is “what will another think?”. We are indirectly or directly forced to seek approval when it is our own natural way to live what we feel and know.

  41. We pretty much give away our whole lives in the way we dress, I’ve gone through so many phases too, bright colours when I wanted to be super individual, hippy when I wanted to be free-er, floral when I was exploring my feminity. And now is my favourite ever – simplicity in the way I dress – because whats behind is what counts and knowing who I am is everything.

  42. I think because we are roughly the same generation or at least my older sister and you are, I remembered the different trends and styles from back then and it made me laugh. My conforming was a little subtler then yours, as I always felt I found “my own style” people would say how unique I was and I loved standing out and getting attention from both men and woman, in fact that was my aim most of the time, to get male attention.
    What I felt when reading your article was “my style” still was just a choice within a certain dictated perimeter, so when Opp-Shop were “in” I choose to wear full blown male 70s suits in the middle of summer, so everyone thought I was this eccentric character but in truth I was still shopping at the oppshop and when you think about it, in that way I was still conforming, considering it was the fashionable thing to do. So what I am saying is until we know truly the depth of who we are, we are owned by the mainstream or a consciousness that wants you to believe you are free.

  43. I can imagine the older women in your life Shannon seeing this expressive gorgeous young woman change before their eyes after going out for dinner. We can give so much power away to our peers, I see this more now with having my own children, and which reminds me of where I also did it too. I had a similar experience at 13, going to my first school disco and I felt great in my beautiful new clothes until I arrived and saw most girls wearing the same thing and in clothes they already had. From then I despised the fact I stood out in new clothes, especially on free dress days at school, I loved the new clothes in truth but couldn’t stand the repercussions from others when I was seen in them. Women in Livingness blogs and talks have supported me in seeing how much I’ve held back myself as a woman and expressing that. Slowly I’ve taken steps to re-connect to the love of expressing myself in what I wear and even becoming so natural for me trying different things with makeup and my hair… this is huge compared to the limited view I had of what I was allowed to do, look like and be.

  44. I love how you began to experiment and have fun with you and your life, allowing the true you to be present.

  45. Thank you Shannon. I feel like you have opened up a glorious can of worms for me as I get the sense that I let a lot of things get in the way of how I really want to dress. I started to feel a bit lost but now I am remembering what is felt like to get dressed as a child. I always loved clothing that was soft and comfortable on my body and I loved wearing shiny pink ruffled dresses and hearing the fabric ‘swish’ I never dressed for an occasion, I just wore what I loved and mixed together crazy combinations that were practical and felt great.

    I can also remember how jealous other kids were when it was clear that I wore what I wanted and that I felt great about myself. At the time I thought the jealousy of others meant there was something wrong with me but now I know better.

    1. Gorgeous Leonne, there is nothing like wearing what you feel on the inside on the outside… I mean, when your feeling delicate, sweet and gentle and then put on something that feels like that on your skin and confirms you in every step you take. Our bodies are so constricted when we apply anything to it i.e. makeup, clothes, hair products, beliefs, pictures etc. that is coming from someone else’s look or energy.

    2. When I was younger I loved a skirt so much; it had 3 stripes of colour red, blue and yellow with loads of daisies on. I remember my mum opening up the wardrobe door every morning and asking me what I would like to wear and everyday I wanted to wear this skirt .. I think some days she had to literally peel it away from me to get me to wear something else! This reminds me how many times I don’t allow myself to be with me and wear what I feel in that moment. This morning I opened up my wardrobe and going through my clothes saw a dress that I felt to wear but then immediately had a thought come in that I wasn’t doing much or going out anywhere so could not wear it. It is great that I caught myself think this and so got the dress out to wear today. It shows how I still have some beliefs to clear that feel I cannot feel lovely if I am ‘just’ at home!

    3. Well said Leonne, I too am learning to read other’s reaction and jealousies instead of taking them personally. It is so important for us to not hold back with our dressing or expression in anyway as it is constantly reflecting and pulling others to be more loving and true.

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